Monday, September 17, 2012

Service and Sales in Hospitality Management 01

1.      Briefly describe the five main aspects of hospitality products
The five aspects of hospitality products are:
1)      Location. Where is business is situated plays a key role in determining the kind of services being offered. For example a city hotel must be able to offer business facilities whereas a hotel located on a busy highway should be able to provide parking for the passing through travellers.
2)      Facilities. The product(s) offered should reflect the type of hospitality operation. A gourmet restaurant should provide a large variety of dishes whereas a fast – food like McDonalds focuses on speed instead of variety.
3)      Image of the business. The image of a business is a combination of several factors such as decor, facilities and standards. The ‘image’ of a business is in effect the idea that the company is trying to convey to the customers.
4)      Price. The price is what the guest pays for the product but location and image must be taken into account when a price is considered. For example a luxury hotel in a very popular location will have a different price than a motel.   
5)      Service. Service has many aspects such as availability of the product, maintenance and presentation of the facility, style and quality etc.
2.      How can you measure and manage service excellence within the hospitality industry?
There are some standards in service that can be used to measure performance:
1.       The presentation and visual of the actual product like how well presented is the staff and the building itself. It is a sign of good service when everything works and is well maintained in short the tangible aspects of a business tells a lot about the kind of service that will be provided.
2.       It is not enough for a business to offer quality service ‘some times’, the guests must always know what to expect so reliability is another measure of service.
3.       A major part of the ‘quality service’ depends on staff. How responsive and fast they are to meet the guests’ needs is also a way to measure how good or bad service is offered by the establishment.
4.       If the staff is well trained and reliable they will provide comfort and enjoyment to their guests. They will inspire confidence in the guests that their needs will be met. Assurance and trust in the company is also a sign of quality service.
5.       Another sign of good service is empathy from the staff which will make the guests feel special and important. That is always rated very highly on service quality.

3.      Explain three factors that can lead to a breakdown in service and how might complains be handled.
·         One factor that can lead to a breakdown is if a customer is not happy with some aspect of the service and management is not aware that there is a problem.
·         Secondly there are foreseen problems deriving from lack of communication with the customer for example shortages of staff that leads to slow service.
·         Thirdly there are unexpected situations such as faulty equipment or a fault with the product itself. Complains should never be ignored or taken lightly, the member of staff taking the complain should show genuine interest in the problem, suggest what can be done to resolve the problem and follow up with the customer that the appropriate action was taken in its result.

4.      What is meant by the five gap model and how can this be used to investigate complaints?
The customers are the ones who evaluate the service they receive on the basis of their expectations, perceptions and actual experience. When there complains are received that means there is a difference between what they thought they were getting and what they actually got. For example when there is a difference between the manager perceptions and the service specification or the service delivery that could lead to complains. Or when the product is not advertised properly and the actual service delivery does not meet the customer’s expectations. Once a complaint is received then it should be categorised accordingly so as to close the gap and avoid further complaints in the future.   

The company should have trained staff who will be able to exact information about the nature of the complain. Guests who are not satisfied tend to feel wronged or cheated and might not be able to express themselves properly unless they are given proper attention. Once the complain is identified then the company may take steps to solve the problem. For example if there is some misleading information in the hotel’s site that created exaggerated expectations then that can be rectified. If there is staff shortage or they are unable to perform due to lack of training that can also be rectified.

5.       What are the six factors involved in TQM and how are these applied to the hospitality industry?
Total Quality Management involves the following areas:
·         Recognition and reward,
·         Education and training,
·         Communication,
·         Attitude and commitment,
·         Systems and methods and finally
·         Aims and objectives.

The aim of TQM is to manage an organisation in a way that leads to customer satisfaction and benefits all members of its team. In hospitality industry that is achieved through proper training and education because the more knowledgeable and skilful the members of the team are then the higher the standard of service. Good communication that should filter to all areas and relate to past and future events as well as present concerns. Also commitment from all the members of the team to provide service quality that exceeds customer expectation is essential. In order to achieve that the hospitality industry and each company individually have systems and procedures to ensure that the aims and objectives of said business are achieved. Finally for the members of the hospitality industry that reach their targets there are rewards and recognition that also work as incentives for other businesses or members of the organisation.

In order to explain how TQM is applied to the hospitality industry I will use an example. Guest A is a repeat customer, this time however he failed to make a booking. The receptionist is new at her post but has training and is able to access the guest’s past information that the hotel keeps in order to offer better services (education and training). She then offers the guest his favourite room if it is available or an upgrade (recognition and reward). In order to do that there has to be a specific set of instructions that the hotel implements in cases such as these (systems and methods). That way each guest feels that he receives ‘preferential treatment’ and will return to the establishment which is always among the aims and objectives of the hotel.

6.      What steps can be taken in accommodation operations to reduce ‘no shows’?
In order to avoid no – shows the hotel can take several steps:
         i.            Clear communication between guest and hotel. The reservation agents should try to get as much information as possible about the arrival time of the guests. Also it should be clear that after a specific time (ex 18:00) the reservation is no longer guaranteed.

       ii.            Guest should give their credit card details in order to guarantee the booking. Also the guest should be aware that the hotel can and will charge cancellation fees in case of non arrival.

      iii.            Non – refundable offer means that the hotel is paid in advance whether the guest shows up or not. Many hotels us this method to guarantee revenue.

     iv.            Another step not so common is the method of overbooking. That is the hotel knows the percentage of non – shows per day and then accepts more reservations than available rooms to cover the possible non – shows.

       v.            Finally the hotel should always advertise that it has availability even when fully booked because the extra last minute bookings can cover possible non – shows.

7.      Give two examples of selling that might be seen in a restaurant business?
Once the customers are seated their waiter offers aperitif while they are studying the menus. If they can’t choose from the menu a knowledgeable waiter can promote the more expensive food options or the ones that are best accompanied with the expensive wine. Once the meal is over the waiter might temp the guests to have one last drink or a dessert or coffee.

Restaurants have special offers such as a 3 course meal at a bargain fixed price. The experienced waiter can promote those menus to customers who otherwise wouldn’t return. Restaurants have those kind of special offers so as to attract patrons on slow nights.

8.       List six incentives that can be used to promote additional sales within the hospitality industry. Choose two of these and explain how they will work in practice.
A few of the incentives that can be used within the hospitality industry are:

         i.            A special monetary prize to the person with the most sales for example the waiter that has taken the most orders etc. In practice, the restaurant management by the use of a computerised system can keep track of each waiter’s performance. Then in a monthly meeting the waiter with the most sales will be awarded a price. That will entice the other workers to try harder and will also help management identify the ‘weakest members’ of the team and help them achieve higher performance.

       ii.            A monetary reward to all the people of a department if a certain target is achieved ex. If a hotel has 90% occupancy for an entire month all the receptionists receive 100.00 GBP on top of their salary.

      iii.            Set rewards in the form of services that staff would appreciate ex. A voucher for a free spa treatment for the reservation agent with the higher score of bookings.

     iv.            Set a performance – based incentive. That way the staff’s performance will determine how much they earn. The higher their sales the more money they will be making. In practice a reservation agent will receive a percentage of money of the sales he is making instead of a salary. That way he determines how much he is earning giving him greater flexibility and potentially higher earnings.

       v.            Knowledge of the product will ultimately lead to higher sales as the seller will be able to anticipate and respond to the guests inquiries easier and more effectively. If the establishment offers a reward to the person with the better knowledge of the product that will make a difference in the way the staff views training. Ultimately better trained personnel will perform better and produce more sales.

     vi.            Another very important incentive is career promotion and advancement opportunities. Staff will be more effective if their performance could lead to a promotion or other career advancement. Theoretically that would be the case all the times but in reality businesses need to be more specific and make the connection between high performance and promotion more evident.

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